Five years ago in this very building, Bradie Tennell realized a lifelong dream.
Then just 19, the Chicago-area native captured the U.S. Figure Skating Championships crown and punched her ticket to the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, where she would finish ninth.
Three years later, Tennell won a second American title on the eve of the Olympic season.
But a lingering foot injury turned into an all-out debilitating injury, and a series of treatments couldn't solve the problem. She missed the entirety of the Olympic season.
Thursday night (26 January) she skated near to perfect, putting herself into podium position - and within striking distance of gold - after a rocky return to the ice during the first half of the season, when she finished 8th and 12th at her two Grand Prix stops.
"I spent so much of last year wishing for this," said Tennell, who turns 25 next week. "Being in this moment is a little surreal, so I'm taking it all in. I'm trusting that my hard work is going to show."
Tennell made a big life and skating change in her time away from competition, too: She moved to France to train with well-known choreographer Benoit Richaud, as well as Cedric Tour, in Nice.
"It was a long road coming back," she continued. "I don't know if I would say that I'm grateful for the experience - it was very, very hard - but I'm grateful for the perspective that I was able to gain and I now have."
"I spent so much of last year wishing for this. Being in this moment is a little surreal, so I'm taking it all in. I'm trusting that my hard work is going to show."